|Tweak-o-Files: Volume 3|
|Home Theater Feature Articles Audio Related Articles|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Wednesday, 26 May 2010|
Just by accident, I found out about Bench Cookies (patent pending) sold by Rockler, the wood working chain store. The Bench Cookies are used to stabilize a piece of wood or any item on a work area while you sand, saw, or nail. In that regard it works perfectly. If you place an object on the Cookies, and try to move it, it will not budge. They are sold in a set of four. They look amazingly like high end resonance control devices. I decided to buy two sets and use them under components in a "what the hell" moment. First, I removed my Symposium Rollerblocks and placed one Bench Cookie near each of the four feet of my preamp. I was impressed. The sound was smooth, detailed, and imaging was excellent. The other big benefit is that your component will not move or slide as you connect or disconnect power cables or interconnects, an annoying trait of many anti resonance devices. I will be trying them under my CD player as well and will report back. Oh, by the way, the cost? About $11 for a set of four. Yep, $11.
I mentioned Timbernation.com in my last column and decided to order one of their platforms for my CD player. I decided on black lacquer. It should be here any day now. Dealing with owner Chris Futick was a pleasure, and he will make sure you are happy. Everything is custom made and made to your exact specifications. I am looking forward to receiving the platform as it will allow me to use some of the shorter interconnects I own, plus it will decouple the player from the rack
for better resonance control.
One of the benefits of buying cables from smaller manufacturers is easy and inexpensive customization. I am in the process of digitizing some old Reel to Reel tapes. I wanted to use silver interconnects to extract the most detail from these old tapes. My vintage Revox A77 deck has phono connectors that are so closely spaced together, none of my cables will not work with it. Today’s RCA phono plugs are generally wide in diameter, and the engineers at Revox could not have predicted the advances in cable technology we have today, and “audiophile” jumbo sized connectors. I decided to contact Richard Sachek at RS Cables, whose cables I reviewed here (LINK) for some help. He provided measurements on a few RCA plugs and he ultimately custom terminated one of his silver cables with Canare plugs. Worked perfectly. The connectors fit, and I already have excellent results by connecting the Revox to my HHB CD burner. So if you have a special project, and you need a specific tweak to your cables, go to the small guys!
I wrote previously about the Shakti Stone, a tweak I consider essential for my cd player. It absorbs stray EMI and other nasties that can degrade sound. Many use it on other components as well. Well, I am now considering trying the Shaki On-Lines, designed to be attached to signal cables. They are $99 a pair. I have not tried them before, but if the Stone is any indication of how they might work, then I'm pretty confident. As I mentioned before, Shakti Innovations has a long list of luminaries that swear by their products, and across several industries.
After Market Fuses:
I want to stress that I have never tried it, but several audiophile friends of mine have, and they are convinced that replacing the stock fuses in components can bring on not so subtle improvements. I'm sure there are others, but the two best known are made by HiFi-Tuning, of Germany, and Furutech, of Japan. These "super fuses" cost between $30 and $60 each. These fuses can be found at the Cable Company, www.thecableco.com ‘ and few other etailers. Your local dealer may also carry them. If you have a few dollars burning a whole in your pocket, these are an interesting tweaks to pursue, especially if you are looking for that last possible 3% of performance enhancement.
I've been a user of Blu-Tack, made by Bostic, for years now. Yes, it costs about double any other generic adhesive, but it is way better. I bought some of that generic "poster tak" to compare, and it was horrible. I use Blu-Tack to secure my speakers to their stands. It will keep your monitors secure, and will improve the sound to boot, by taming any cabinet & stand interactions. Highly recommended. PS, I also use it to secure my GPS unit to its base on my dashboard.
"Even I'm a Skeptic":
I have decided to start a section of my tweaks column called Even I'm a Skeptic, for tweaks and alleged improvements that push the boundry of ROI. I'm pretty open minded, and but I also tend to be a "show me" type when it comes to questionable audio improvement products. This weeks EIAS tweak are cable elevators, products designed to lift your cables off the floor, to either prevent carpet and cable "interaction", or to protect them from floor resonance. I have experimented with home made cable elevators, and I heard utterly no difference. If anybody else has positive experience with these types of tweaks, please feel free to comment.